Popular human rights lawyer, Festus Keyemo, has without any concrete reason withdrawn as the prosecution counsel in the corruption case leveled against the former governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Keyamo, an All Progressives Congress chieftain just like Sylva, said he was stepping down as the lead prosecutor due to the "recent developments which could hinder him from prosecuting the case effectively and vigorously."
In a letter made available to journalists, Keyamo said: “Kindly recall that sometime in 2012, the Commission briefed my Chambers to prosecute Charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/23/2012; Between: The Federal Republic Of Nigeria V. Timipre Sylva, he wrote in a letter to the EFCC.
“Since then, we have diligently prosecuted the Charge and successfully opposed the bid of the accused person to quash the Charge in limine. The court ruled in our favour for the trial to commence and the Court of Appeal also refused to stay proceedings in the trial.
“However, certain recent developments (in respect of which I would prefer not to elaborate) have necessitated my decision to withdraw from further prosecution of the said Charge. This is because these recent developments may hamper my effective, efficient and vigorous prosecution of the Charge, duties that are expected of every prosecutor.”
Meanwhile, an inside source in the APC, who spoke to Breaking Times on condition of anonymity, disclosed that it was the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, who ordered Keyamo to stay off the case.
Sylva is the chairman of the Buhari May 29 transition committee and Keyamo is believed to be a confidant of Buhari on legal matters.
According to the source, with Keyamo’s involvement in the case as prosecuting counsel, Sylva would not escape conviction.
“Timipre actually begged Buhari to soften the grounds for him as his conviction would do more damage that Buhari will not recover from,” the source added.
Sylva's trial had been fixed for Monday. He was docked alongside his co-accused in July 2014, for using three companies to siphon funds from Bayelsa state treasury between 2009 and 2012.
The companies are Marlin Maritime Limited, Eat Catering Services Limited, and Haloween-Blue Construction and Logistics Limited.
Last week, Keyamo lambasted the outgoing government of President Goodluck Jonathan, for deliberately ignoring the present suffering of Nigerians as regards the biting fuel scarcity being experienced across the nation.